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We work directly with organizations, companies and governmental agencies to identify behavioral leverage points in their initiatives, then assist in the design and implementation of cost-effective and scalable behavioral strategies.


We provide a range of services:

Behavior change program design, prototyping, piloting, implementation and evaluation

Social media strategy

Critical audience research

We must not assume we know why our audience is performing undesirable behaviors or what would drive them to adopt our desired behaviors. We must find that out from the audience directly. 

Root Solutions specializes in an evidence-based method for understanding and measuring your audience’s behavioral drivers – called a Behavioral Drivers Analysis (BDA). A BDA is a systematic tool that uses in-depth surveys and interviews to uncover your audience’s significant barriers and motivators, and more importantly, the statistically significant differences between people that do the behavior and those that do not. It also allows us to uncover barriers and motivators that are often hidden from the audience themselves. This allows you to design solutions that directly target the real problems and sticking points and also to design solutions that will truly motivate your audience. 

Message testing and development 

At Root Solutions, we work with many organizations that have missions vital to the health of our planet–cleaning up our oceans, combating climate change, or reducing consumption, to name a few. But we also know that every day, people are preoccupied with priorities, worries, and other messages, from advertisements, to financial or personal concerns, to calls for donations or support, and even other messages about the environment. And, even if an environmental message cuts through the noise and catapults into public awareness, behavior science (and experience) tells us that awareness is generally insufficient for producing lasting behavioral changes.

Root Solutions is here to ensure vital environmental messages become a priority. Good messages stand out, spread easily, resonate with the audience, align with the long-term environmental movement, and don’t just make people aware of an issue–they move the audience to action. Good, repeated messaging can even shift the values of society over time, and the relationship between society and the environment.

Whether you’re interested in augmenting your existing messages with cutting-edge behavior science research, evaluating the effectiveness of your messaging, or creating a new strategy because your messages aren’t taking you where you want to go, Root Solutions offers services that can help, including:

  • Tailoring messages to your priority audience/s, whether they are consumers, park visitors, voters, business owners, policymakers, or your nonprofit partners

    • We help you define your priority audience and identify the groups within it that might respond differently to messages

    • We conduct primary and secondary research so that you can better understand which messages motivate and which impede action for your audience: this includes factors like their barriers and motivators to behaviors, the moral values and ideologies they hold, the people in their social networks they look up to the most, the identities that they value the most, their most pressing concerns (pool of worry), and the frames through which they currently understand the world

  • Articulating your values and sticking to your zone of no-compromise

    • Even though messages should be tailored to an audience, it is equally important to make sure that you are speaking from your own values. That is, you don’t want to “water down” your values to try to appease your audience. Instead, we can help you find the values that you share with your audience. 

    • If your issue is contentious, we can also help you identify the frames of your opposition, so that you can stick to your own language and avoid using theirs.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of your current message frames to see if they’re meeting your short-term and long-term goals

    • We help you determine whether your existing messaging is effectively doing what you need it to do, by evaluating it directly with your priority audience.

  • Identifying and tailoring the right frames for your issue and your audience

    • Whether you want to see what alternatives are out there, are seeking to establish a new voice on a new issue, or are looking to augment your existing messaging, we can help you find what messages are already being used, and adapt them to your specific needs (and the needs of your audience).

    • From national security to public health to environmental justice, the way you frame your environmental issue is essential to whether it is heard by your audience, and whether it moves them to long-term action. We can help you identify and evaluate the many ways that your issue has been characterized to find the frame that best fits you.

    • We can help you find and create metaphors, which are excellent tools for explaining complex events and processes. Metaphors root unfamiliar concepts like climate change or ocean acidification in familiar events and processes, like the workings of the human body. Good metaphors increase understanding, inoculate against misinformation, and allow the message to spread rapidly via audience members. Root Solutions can help identify, create, and test metaphors that adhere to best practices.

    • Stories are far superior to facts and statistics when it comes to creating messaging that works. Root Solutions can help you collect and test compelling stories from persuasive messengers that work for your audience.

  • Message testing

    • Even with all the secondary audience research in the world, it is impossible to predict exactly how a message will land. Instead of guessing, Root Solutions can test messages using focus groups, surveys, and/or other primary research methods to reveal the frames that work best with your audience.

  • Aligning with the long-term environmental movement / aligning short and long term goals:

Some short-term environmental messages tend to emphasize extrinsic reasons to protect the environment, by focusing on economic growth or treating the environment as a commodity to be bought and sold. Though these frames can be extremely effective for some audiences, they can also impede the frames that focus on intrinsic reasons to protect the environment, like the frame that we are all stewards of our shared (not purchased) environment. To achieve a long-term shift, we need to emphasize and strengthen these intrinsic values.

    • We can help you navigate this complex balance, finding the frames that prompt short-term action for your audience without impeding long-term change.


Audience segmentation

There is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach for messages, initiatives, and campaigns. Root Solutions can help you segment your audience by a range of meaningful (those most likely to influence how the audience might respond) and practical characteristics.  We can help you determine whether you should segment your audience based on values, likelihood of adoption, preparedness to act, common demographics, or other factors. 

Survey, interview, and focus group design, implementation and reporting


Please contact us to discuss your needs. From multimillion dollar projects where the stakes of getting the design right is high, to small projects that want to make sure their messaging won’t backfire, we can work within your budget. As a small non-profit ourselves, we understand the need to do a lot with a little. 


By providing practical instruction on the use of behavioral design, we equip change-makers to create a brighter, healthier, and more sustainable world. Our training is based on our unique behavior design framework, using a mix of case studies, informative storytelling, hands-on activities, and concrete design material.

See the PRIVATE TRAINING section of our Events & Trainings page to learn more about current training you can join, or training tailor made for your needs. 

Nia Carrico-Diener

“This workshop taught me so much more than I ever hoped for! I am so excited to apply this incredible new knowledge to all my programs and interactions!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”

Nia Carrico-Diener
Save Our Shores
Julia Hatton - Rising Sun

“I feel like anyone working in environmental program design and implementation should receive this training, especially if they have a goal of changing peoples’ behavior. The training was interesting, engaging, and relevant; we came out of it with specific steps we can take to improve our programming to make it more relevant and effective.”​

Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
Julia Hatton
Director of Youth Programs Rising Sun Energy Center
Kate Bimrose Testimonial

“This work actually gets at a process for lasting, sustainable solutions to environmental problems, and can be applied to virtually any issue or topic. These solutions/interventions are personal and direct and are therefore more effective. Decision science is the mechanism for bringing together often polarized issues and creating life-long change to better our world and strengthen human-to-human connection!"

Kate Bimrose
Greater Farallones Association
Jacenda Davis

“A great workshop for those who work in community organizing and/or engagement! The building blocks presented in the Root Solutions workshop are great tools to help you design an engagement project that targets any obstacles you might face and provides you with the tools to overcome that obstacle. Great information, great presenters, and an overall great experience! I think anybody who works in sustainability and/or environmental departments in their city or county would benefit from attending this workshop!"

Jacenda Davis
Community Engagement Coordinator, Sustainable Contra Costa County
Elaine Cole, PhD Testimonial

"As a Sustainability Coordinator in higher education I oversee a myriad of programs and projects. I try to apply behavior change principles to these efforts but I do not always have the time, staff or resources. I have been fortunate to attend in person and web-based trainings with Root Solutions for a project I am working on. I have benefited greatly from the relevant research, engaging and interactive presentations and the supportive training. I have been provided with resources, encouragement and coaching to help make my latest project seem less daunting. I would highly recommend Root Solutions workshops for professionals that are novice or experienced in behavior change strategies."

Portland Community College
Elaine Cole, PhD
Sustainability Coordinator, Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus
Nan Farley Testimonial

"The Root Solutions Behavior Design Workshop is the best conference I’ve been to! The Root Solutions Behavior Design Workshop was extremely informative for addressing a milieu of questions - effectively empowering all non-profit representatives in attendance with the proven calculated methods to affect meaningful change by reaching all audiences."

Nan Farley
350 Bay Area
Katie Abrams

“[The workshop] covers much of the science behind an articulate and well-rounded framework in ways that those doing work in conservation behavior can readily apply.”

Katie Abrams
Associate Professor of Science Communication, Colorado State University
Brett Walter

“If you are wondering how the latest social science can be applied to help you better target and persuade your target audience, the Root Solutions workshop is a must. Nya and Lauren have done the hard work for you, reviewing and mastering the essential findings, and presenting them succinctly and convincingly in a well-crafted and effective workshop. I recommend this without reservation.”

Brett Walter
President, Greensweep
Toby C - Luther College

"I feel lucky to have attended Root Solution's Behavior Change training! Even though we only had three hours to get through an enormous amount of information, Lauren and Nya were able to perfectly summarize their knowledge. Their presentations were well organized, understandable, and engaging. They offered ideas and tactics that were immediately implementable. This presentation was absolutely the highlight of a jam-packed 4-day conference. Keep up the fantastic work!"

Luther College
Toby C.
Attendee of our October 2018 AASHE Conference workshop
Greg Ellis

“Root Solutions gave me hope that my small organization can amplify our voice and make change in our community -- I learned specific techniques and received tangible tools to improve our campaign messaging and achieve real behavioral outcomes.”

Greg Ellis
Growth Officer, One Cool Earth
Jamie Smith - copy

“This training provides incredibly useful information about designing an effective and long-lasting project aiming to change behavior. You are educated on a vast amount of tools that can be used in pretty much any setting. I will regularly reference my notes from this training and Root Solutions as a whole to help me create successful projects around environmental issues.”

Jamie Smith
Clean Water Action
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